The business landscape is evolving rapidly and as we look around today, we see industry giants falling and innovative, ambitious start-ups appearing daily in every sector. Technology and consumer behaviour are the main drivers of this trend and it’s likely to accelerate. Ecommerce platforms that can be customised by the individual with little experience, social media as a fully accessible advertising channel and simple pay and go distribution networks are all contributing to create an army of entrepreneurs. Couple this with a consumer that is happy to experiment with an unknown brand providing they can see a relevant benefit and you have the makings of a business.
There is, however, a reason why 90% of start-ups fail. Did they fully validate their idea, test demand, check in with potential customers in advance of committing their valuable and often scarce resources to the end game? Were they open to changing direction when the data told them to, or did they ‘boldly’ persevere? As start-up methodologies are now being more widely learned and adopted, the hit rate may well start to improve, but the question is are these learnings/practices strictly limited to start-ups, or can they also benefit big businesses? Absolutely!
Whilst the goals, resources and processes of a large organisation are incomparable to a start-up, they are very similar in one aspect – consumer behaviour. A growing willingness to experiment with something that is not necessarily a finished and perfect product means that even big businesses can begin to test before going ‘all-in’. If positioned in the right way, they can also be forgiven for mistakes or stray shots. In fact, this honest and almost vulnerable approach is one that will be well received by consumers, who are also craving a more authentic and personal relationship. So, how does this play out in reality?
An example of a make-up brand wanting to launch a virtual consultation service
The above methodology reduces risk and increases the likely impact of any new launch/initiative. It also allows a brand to innovate quickly and test concepts before resourcing up. Ultimately, the only true test is whether a customer is prepared to give up their hard-earned cash based on what has been promised to them. Using the more traditional focus group, hypothetical approach risks the reality being far from the assumption.
The new consumer world is one full of possibilities and is encouraging all companies out there to think big but act small.
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